The Newcastle Rugby Foundation has received confirmation of a grant totalling £99,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to document the history of rugby league in the North East of England.
The Foundation, the official charity of both Newcastle Thunder and Newcastle Falcons, will embark on a two-year project which will chronicle the sport at both professional and community levels all the way back to the very early 1900s.
The project will collate match information, photos, memorabilia, memories and news reports and make these available for public consumption via the establishment of an online museum.
The Foundation will work with the North East Rugby League, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and clubs and societies across the region to gather contributions. The programme of activity will also include the training of volunteers, an education element, work with dementia support groups and a series of exhibitions.
Heritage numbers will be allocated to every player who has played professional rugby league for a club in the region. This will include Wallsend, South Shields and St Paul’s in the early 20th century, Newcastle Rugby League in the 1930s and Gateshead/Newcastle Thunder over the past two decades.
Speaking about the award, Newcastle Rugby Foundation chairman Mick Hogan said: “We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which allows this exciting and important project to take place.
“With the Rugby League World Cup staging five games in the region in October and November 2021, the emergence of Newcastle Thunder and the growth of the community game, it’s the right time to embark on this.
“We will use the profile of the Rugby League World Cup, and the fact that Newcastle will host the opening game between England and Samoa, to engage with local residents and visitors to the city via a heritage exhibition.
“The history of the game at all levels is far more extensive than many would appreciate, and it’s important that we document it and bring it to life.
“At the Foundation we do a lot of participation-based programmes. This heritage-based initiative will allow us to engage with even more sectors of our community in different ways than just playing rugby league.”
The project has already set up a North East Rugby League Heritage facebook community page where supporters, former players and volunteers can share photographs, memories and memorabilia, which can be added to the online museum.
For further information on the History of North East Rugby League Heritage Project please contact Martin Flynn on 07841 495 073 or via email@example.com .